For the Arts Inspiration section of the Bronze Arts Award: Level 1 Award in the Arts qualification, young people need to research the work of an artist that inspires them. During lockdown we have been working online with students from The CE Academy to support them in gaining these qualifications – the equivalent to a passing grade at GCSE. Mackenzie met and interviewed our Education Coordinator, artist Stuart Moore, after previously working with him on a workshop making animal and human-like robots.
Stuart Moore is a sound artist and recordist living in Milton Keynes, England. His work explores the intersection between perception of the involuntary soundscape and purposeful human composition. Microtonal notes are derived from natural sound and form the basis of unique internal harmonies specific to the piece.
1. How did you get in to stuff like that?
I’ve always loved taking things to pieces. On top of that, there’s never any shortage of broken stuff for free, so if you can put things back together again too it’s like the world is rammed full of great, free things! The image above is from a project in development. It’s part of an interactive device called ‘Blow’.
2. What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
I love that I can take on any challenge I feel like having a go at. I get to make it all up as I go along! It feels like I’ve done loads of crazy things that I never expected to. One time, I was asked to make a piece of music about a particular staircase in a different country. They sent me some pictures from a phone and I had to work out what its hidden music was. Bonkers! I think the next thing after that, I was putting beeps in buckets… The video below is me in a band called Falaena recording a video for the track Like Fabius in 2018.
3. Did you have to do any training? If so where did you train?
Mostly I read and look things up on the internet all the time. I’ve got a degree in product design, and that’s kind of handy and was fun to do, but most of what I know I’ve just gone and found out for myself. It’s amazing how easily you can get information on almost anything these days!
4. How long have you been an artist for?
That depends on how you look at it. I’m not sure I know! 🙂 I think maybe I’m just doing what I’ve always done.
5. Did anyone else do this in your family before you?
Nope, which I think is both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, it’s useful if you’ve got an example to follow and someone to help you out. On the other hand, creativity is about doing things that people haven’t done before. So it’s good not to have people trying to tell you what’s the ‘right way’ and the ‘wrong way’ all over the place and you having to learn to ignore them!
6. Do you earn any money from being an artist?
Yes, some. Creative work isn’t the easiest way to get paid. I know some people that work with technology in a more ordinary way and get paid huge amounts. I must be crazy because I just keep avoiding anything like that! 🙂
7. Have you made any games?
I’ve done a whole bunch of whacky stuff. I made online games for a little while. I made a recording studio, which might not sound like a game, but I think really it probably is. A crazy place where a certain type of grownup goes just to have fun! The more I think about it, the more it seems an interesting question. What’s a game and how many kinds of fun are there? I think I’m going with either ‘Nothing I make is a game. I take it all very seriously’ or ‘Everything I make is a game, I only really do whatever I feel like’. I’m just not sure which…
8. What’s your favorite game you have ever made?
I made a game on the ZX81 (one of the original 8 bit home computers) way back when I was in school. It was teeny and super simple. I think it was called Banana Man. I sent it into a magazine and they printed it and paid me. My friends laughed because of how rubbish they thought the game was, but if I could have understood back then what was good about it I might have saved myself decades of faffing about! 🙂
9. What’s the best robot you have ever made? What did it do?
I think my best robot is the one you’ve seen. It’s very simple, it’s just interested in you and watches you. I like it because I think there are some very deep questions hidden in there. I think the act of paying attention is a very big deal.
This the robot that I’d made which you saw in our Expressive Machines workshop at Fermynwoods.
10. What’s the best project you have ever done?
Tricky. I’ll probably always change my mind about that. I did a project last summer at a festival where another artist made a kind of small building out of branches bits and pieces and filled it with candles and I filled it with little sound devices that created a piece of music. It was pretty amazing just how much people loved sitting around inside it, so that was a very memorable experience. Or there’s a guitar I made years and years ago that someone still plays all the time, so that’s kind of nice too 🙂
Read more about our Arts Award activity here.